01/31/15 Pinellas County, FL – Man Down – Deputy Investigates – Man Punches Deputy Several Times And Injures Him – Jumps Into His Running Patrol Car – Can’t Get It Out Of Gear – Tasered Twice – Tremco Saved This Vehicle

January 31, 2015


A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy suffered injuries after he was struck multiple times while attempting to help a man the deputy thought had been struck by a car.

According to the sheriff’s report, the incident occurred about 4:25 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at Alderman Road and Westlake Boulevard in Palm Harbor.

Zane Thomas Gavin, 23, was arrested and charged with two counts of resisting arrest with violence, one count of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, one count of battery of a law enforcement officer, one count of attempted carjacking without a weapon and one count of violation of probation on a previous DUI charge.

Bond amounts total $170,000. No bond was set for the violation of probation.

Investigators said Deputy Richard Tipton, 56, had been on patrol eastbound on Alderman Road approaching Westlake Boulevard when he saw a male, later identified as Gavin, run from the south side of the road into the path of a 2000 Chevrolet Suburban. The driver of the Suburban, Sharon L. Scroggins, 49, of Palm Harbor stopped abruptly and then backed up and changed lanes before stopping again.

As Tipton got closer to the scene, he saw Gavin on his back in the roadway. It appeared that Gavin had been struck by the Suburban, the report said.

Tipton activated his emergency lights and reported what he had observed over the radio, but before he could exit his cruiser, Gavin had risen to his feet. Tipton approached Gavin to check on him, then without warning, the man threw a punch striking the deputy on the left side of the head. Gavin reportedly struck the deputy “several more times,” breaking his eyeglasses and knocking him backwards to the ground.

The driver of the Suburban got out of her vehicle to try to assist the deputy and suffered an injury to her head, the report said.

After knocking the deputy down, Gavin got into the deputy’s marked patrol car and revved the engine as he attempted to put it in gear.

“Tipton, still dazed from the blows to his head, was able to get up, call for back-up, open the driver’s door to the cruiser and deploy his electronic control device on the suspect, with no effect,” according to the sheriff’s report. “Deputy Tipton utilized his ECD a second time to drive stun the suspect. Deputies say there was no apparent effect again.”

After Tipton used his ECD on Gavin the second time, Gavin exited the cruiser, ran north across the median where he fell. Investigators report that Gavin continued to fight with back-up deputies who arrived on scene and eventually took Gavin into custody.

Tipton was transported by ambulance to Mease-Countryside Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, which included injuries to his left ear, lower lip and a broken tailbone. Scroggins was also transported by ambulance to Florida Hospital North Pinellas for treatment of non-life threatening injuries to her head. Her father, Maurice Scherf, 83, also of Palm Harbor, who was a passenger, was not injured.

Gavin was transported by ambulance to Mease-Countryside Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

According to booking reports posted on the sheriff’s website, Gavin has eight previous arrests – one in 2013 and seven in 2014.

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